by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
Playing ont TNT in front of a national television audience for the first time since 2008, the Nets held on to defeat the Celtics at home. Brooklyn jumped out to an 11-point lead in the first quarter but the Celtics came around and cut the deficit to five. The Nets were all over the offensive glass in the first half, totaling 15 rebounds off of their own missed shots and scoring 19 second-chance points to take a 59-50 lead into intermission. BK dominated the first half and took full advantage of a Rondo-less backcourt but Paul Pierce wouldn’t let hist team go down without a fight.
Trailing by 13, Pierce and the Celtics started to find their groove midway through the third quarter. The Truth hit a three that woke up the Boston faithful in attendance. After he picked up his fourth foul and refused to be pulled by Doc Rivers, Pierce hit back-to-back baskets ato give the Celtics a 73-71 lead. The Nets were a bit stunned and trailed 79-74 heading into the final quarter. In the fourth, BK regained their focus and a Jerry Stackhouse three-pointer tied the game up at 85 with just over six minutes to play. Joe Johnson broke the tie with two jumpers in a row then Brook Lopez grabbed an offensive board and put it back in for a score to put the home team up by six. The Celtics cut the lead to three and with 35 seconds left, Pierce stepped to the line for two free throws and uncharacteristically bricked both allowing BK to hold on for their fourth straight victory.
— Deron Williams scored 24 points, hit 9 of 9 free throws and dished out 8 assists. Brook Lopez scored 24 and Joe Johnson chipped in with 19 including two huge jumpers late in the game.
— Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 22 and Leondro Barbosa, who started in place of Rondo, scored 17.
— DWill with the ill handle:
If I had told you last season that Carmelo Anthony would only score 9 points on 3-12 shooting in 40 minutes and the Knicks beat the Spurs, would you believe me? Well that’s exactly what happened last night in San Antonio. Both teams came out shooting red hot and dismantled each other’s otherwise solid defense, turning the game into a track meet and at the half the Knicks trailed 57-55. In the third, the teams’ shooting stroke betrayed them as the Knicks missed 9 threee-pointers–a streak that started in the second and lasted into the fourth. In the first half, the two teams combined for 112 points, in the third they only amassed 36. In the fourth, the Spurs started to pull away and pushed the lead to 12 with over seven minutes to go. San Antonio was dominating inside behind Tiago Splitter and it seemed like they were going to end the Knicks unbeaten streak and send the team off to Memphis with a tough loss. Instead, Ray Felton and Jason Kidd put the team on their backs and led a 25-6 run that propelled the Knicks to their first win in San Antonio since 2003.
First Felton drove the lane for a layup and foul but missed the free throw. On the Knicks next two possessions he found Kidd for threes that swung momentum back in New York’s favor. The Spurs were rattled and the Knicks started to buckle down defensively. Tony Parker, who was giving Felton and Kidd fits through the first three and a half quarters, went 0-4 during the run and with Parker reeling, the rest of the team crumbled. Felton continued to drive the lane and opened things up on the perimeter. The point guard found J.R. Smith for a wide open three that gave the Knicks a two-point lead with under two minutes to play. On the Knicks next possession, Felton found Kidd for his third three-pointer of the quarter that iced the game and sent the Knicks on their way to Memphis with a huge win.
— Felton shot 10-20 for 25 points and dropped 7 dimes. Kidd scored 14, J.R. Smith chipped in with 17 off the bench and Tyson Chandler had a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards.
— Tonight’s Knicks-Grizzlies matchup is must-see TV.
— Kawhi Leonard scored 16 points and 9 boards while Tony Parker led the way with 19 and 12 dimes.
Despite Kenneth Faried’s best efforts, the Heat were able to bounce back from their loss to the Clippers with a win and continued their west coast trip with a win in Denver. The Heat led wire-to-wire and were up by as many as 19 before it got interesting down the stretch. After Andre Miller’s three-point play cut Miami’s lead down to one, the Nuggets had more than enough chances to take the lead but couldn’t get over the hump. With five and a half minutes to go, Ty Lawson found himself on a breakaway for a layup when Shane Battier stepped in front and took the charge, waving off the basket and, in turn, the Nuggets lead. It was that type of night for Lawson who finished with zero points. With under a minute to go, Norris Cole hit a three to make the score 95-91. Danilo Gallinari had a serious brain fart on the next possession when he let the ball go out of bounds at midcourt, giving the ball back to the Heat. LeBron hit two free throws with 23 seconds to go and that was all she wrote.
— DWade sat out with a sprained left foot.
— LeBron scored 27, dished out 12 assists and grabbed 7 boards. Light work.
— Kenny Faried grabbed a career-high 20 boards and looked like he was running on battery acid.
— Andre Miller showed off his old man game for 19 points and 7 assists off the bench.